Technology & Innovation

General Electric has installed an evaluation of its HA turbine at Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) Dania Beach Clean Energy Center near Fort Lauderdale. The newly launched 7HA.03 has the lowest cost conversion of gas to electricity for 60-hertz customers.

High-tech firm Leonardo will provide cyber security solution for Ansaldo Energia’s ‘Lighthouse Plant’ for the production of gas and steam turbines. As the first of Italy’s four intelligent factories, the project will benefit from state funding under the Industry 4.0 plan.

GE Grid Solutions is investing tens of millions of dollars to expand its range of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)-free substation equipment. By 2025, the offering will include SF6-free gas-insulated substations and instrument transformers up to 420 kV, as well as circuit breakers up to 550 kV.

Q Power, a Finnish pioneer in biomethanisation, has started to work with Wärtsila to develop and commercialise renewable and synthetic fuels. Q Power’s patented concept produces biomethane by taking CO2 from the air and combining it with hydrogen.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) has developed artificial intelligence (AI)-based gas turbine monitoring. The system collects and analyses data from sensors installed in generators to predict parts malfunction and preempt turbine failures.

Natural gas is set to become a 'high-carbon fuel' after 2025, as the perception of gas generation changes over time among EU member states. "In the short-term, we need gas to keep the lights on," but analysts stressed "Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) will need to kick off after 2025."

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, a key South Korean contractor for energy projects, has managed to develop a proprietary large-scale gas turbine. With its new DGt6-300H S1 model, Doosan HI is now vying to compete with the Big Four of GE, Siemens Ansaldo Energia and MHPS.

To test Power-to-Gas systems locally, Fraunhofer ISE installed a modular hydrogen injection system in the local gas distribution network in Freiburg, southwest Germany. Researchers coupled an electrolyzer with 120 kW electric connection power with a small hydrogen unit that is capable of storing 300 kWh of chemical energy.

The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has launched its 31DF engine, claiming the 11 MW genset offers “unequalled” open-cycle efficiency and fuel flexibility which makes it adapt for markets where a gas supply is anticipated but not yet available, or where the price of natural gas is an issue.

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Dutch-based Karpower International BV, a subsidiary of Turkey’s Karadeniz Holdings, have signed an agreement to jointly carry out the first LNG-to-Powership project in Mozambique. Named KARMOL, the joint owners will operate an FSRU and a patented Powership.

The cost of producing hydrogen gas from renewables is forecast to fall sharply over the next decade, providing an affordable fuel to decarbonise the energy and transport sectors. In Germany and Texas, RES hydrogen costs could fall to $1.40 a kilogram by 2030 from the current range of $2.50 to $6.80, according to research published in Nature Energy.

Graz’s Large Engines Competence Center (LEC) and INNIO, formerly part of GE, have been researching and developing regenerative fuels like hydrogen and hydrogen carrier gases such as synthetic natural gas, methanol or ammonia. The aim is to build gas engines that are virtually emissions free.

SoftBank Vision Fund is investing $110 million in the Swiss startup Energy Vault which developed an innovative technology to store energy in stacked concrete blocks. This method is more economical than lithium-ion batteries, Energy Vault claims, simply because cement and sand are cheap materials.

After breakthroughs in curbing energy related emissions, industrial decarbonisation is the next frontier. At zero-carbon electricity prices below $50/MWh, using electricity for heat in industrial processes becomes more economical than carbon capture and storage (CCS), McKinsey finds.

National Iranian Gas Transmission Company (NIGTC) claims its engineers have gained the necessary know-how to repair Siemens gas turbines. NIGTC chief executive Saeid Tavakoli said the company carried out overhauls of SGT600 turbines by solely relying on domestic contractors.

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News in Brief

Regulators approve CCGT in Wisconsin

Jan 20 – State regulators have approved a permit for Dairyland Power Cooperative to build a $700 million combined-cycle gas power plant in northwestern Wisconsin. The Nemadji Trail Energy Center will produce 625 MW and is scheduled to begin operations by 2025.

ExxonMobil enhances turbine oils

Jan 17 – New high performance turbine oils, developed by ExxonMobil Lubricants, are  entering the market which are formulated to prevent build-up of lacquer, varnish and deposits. The oils are designed to protect against thermal and oxidative degradation, one of the root causes of deposit build-up.

Wärtsilä signs O&M deals in the Bahamas

Jan 16 – Following the commissioning of a Wärtsilä-built 132 MW power plant in Bahamas in December, the Finish manufacturer now signed a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) accord with the plant owner, the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL). Wärtsilä will transition, train, and develop the owner’s Bahamian work force and provide key performance guarantees.

China, S'Korea curtail coal to tackle air pollution

Jan 15 – Beijing city government’s aggressive approach to tackling air pollution is working and South Korea’s spring coal-fired curtailments show some success in cutting seasonal emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie, this should benefit LNG, particularly while spot prices remain low.

Sri Lanka at brink of power shortages

Jan 14 – Sri Lanka could face power cuts by March, after plans for a large-scale coal power plant were been cancelled just prior to start of construction, and a tender for a 300 MW diesel plants ended up in court. On the demand side, pressure is building up as the region is moving into the dry season in February and March. Weather warnings say the island is likely to receive lower than average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020.

Caterpillar’s new genset comply with UK & German grid codes

Jan 13 – Caterpillar Inc. has launched a series of new generator sets that comply with the new G99 United Kingdom, VDE-AR-N 4110 German and Belgium C10/C11 grid codes. The following gensets – G3500H, CG132B, CG170, and CG260 (rated from 280-4,500kVA) – have been verified to be able to accommodate different reactive power modes, active power functions, and connection conditions for normal operation or reconnection after mains decoupling.

Transneft launches battery-based power supply for ILI tools

Jan 10 – Transneft Diascan, the largest Russian inspection service provider for pipelines, has developed and put into operation a power supply system for in-line inspection (ILI) tools based on rechargeable batteries. Flaw detectors performing inspections of trunk oil pipelines, gas pipelines and oil product pipelines can now use the energy from rechargeable batteries, which helps save time and reduces the cost of in-line inspection.

Pavilion starts trading LNG out of Madrid

Jan 9 – Singapore-based Pavilion Energy has completed the acquisition of all gas and LNG assets of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. From its new European headquarters in Madrid, Pavilion said has launched 2020 LNG trading operations with supplies focusing on Spain and the UK market.

Gazprom extends gas transits via Belarus until 2021

Jan 8 – Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have sealed additional agreements to extend the contracts for gas supplies to and gas transportation across Belarus until 2021. According to the newly-signed documents, the contractual supply and transit volumes in 2020 will remain at the level of 2019.

EastMed pipeline to take FID by 2022

Jan 7 – Greece, Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to build the 1,900-kilometre EastMed pipeline at an estimated cost of 6 billion Euros. The subsea pipeline, spanning over 1,900-kilometres would initially carry 10 Bcm of gas per annum from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and into the European gas network via Italy. A final investment decision (FID) is meant to be reached in 2022, given that the pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2025.

U.S. energy-related emissions drop over 2%

Jan 6 – Fewer emissions from coal consumption, combined with lower energy demand, have helped to significantly reduce the overall energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. According to government statistics, energy-related CO2 emissions fell 2.2 percent last year, and the downward trend is forecast to continue into 2020.

Brent crude prices surge

Jan 3 – North Sea Brent crude prices have risen to their highest level since September 2019, up nearly $3 per barrel because of Middle East tensions coupled with improved Chinese economic forecasts. Brent crude futures for March 2020 delivery were last seen trading at 69.21 per barrel the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). This bullish price sentiment will feed through to oil-indexed natural gas contracts and LNG deliveries, linked to the Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) basket price.

IEA says coal’s fate tied to Asia

Dec 23 – Rapid rise of wind and solar power in many parts of the world has pushed coal-fired power generation into steep decline in most developed countries. "But this is not the end of coal, since demand continues to expand in Asia," analysts at the International Energy Agency commented: "The region’s share of global coal power generation has climbed from just over 20 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2019, meaning coal’s fate is increasingly tied to decisions made in Asian capitals."

Drop in coal-burn makes Germany edge closer to climate targets

Dec 20 – In 2019, Germany managed to increase its greenhouse gas emissions for the second year in a row, mainly due to a 20 percent drop of coal use for power generation and a growing contribution from renewables. Energy savings and efficiency increases also helped. According to calculations by energy research group AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB), Germany’s primary energy consumption declined by 2.3 percent this year, overall energy use fell more than 2 percent, and energy-related CO2 emissions fell by as much as 7 percent.

Glencore buys Orsted’s lgas business unit

Dec 19 – UK-listed mining company Glencore has agreed to take over a loss-making natural gas business from Orsted, including long-term import capacity at the Gate regas terminal in Rotterdam and five other LNG purchase agreements. “The transaction entails a payment from Orsted to Glencore and will result in a loss that exceeds our current provision related to the LNG activities,” stated Copenhagen-based Orsted without disclosing the value of the transaction.

Carbon-intensive firms may shed over 40% in value

Dec 18 – Energy- and carbon-emissions intensive companies could lose up to 43% of their value if national governments enact more stringent policies to reduce air pollution and tackle climate change. Companies using green energy, in contrast, could gain up to 33% in value, research by the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) finds.

COP25 – a “lost opportunity”

Dec 17 – UN Secretary António Gutierrez has dismissed the outcome of the COP25 climate talks in Madrid as “disappointing” and “lost opportunity“. Some of the world’s largest emitters, including Australia, Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia had joined the U.S. in pushing for accounting loopholes to weaken commitments to reduce emissions in the transport and power generation sector.